GAME OF THE WEEK (Sept. 12–18)
SWC FOOTBALL: Lancaster 35, #10 Platteville 12
LANCASTER — Five weeks into the 2018 prep football season and coach John Hoch has seen steady improvements each week from his relatively young Flying Arrow football squad.
The Arrows had perhaps their best performance of the season last Friday night, where they surprised the visiting Hillmen of Platteville, who are picked by many to win this year’s Southwest Wisconsin Conference title.
By controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and using a variety of offensive weapons, Lancaster cruised to a 35-12 victory to open play in the SWC.
Platteville came into Friday night’s game with an unblemished record of 4-0, while Lancaster was sitting at 3-1 after four weeks of non-conference action.
The only common opponent the two teams had was Cuba City, which Lancaster beat, 41-14, and Platteville beat, 28-14.
“It’s always a big game when we play Platteville, no matter what the records are,” said coach John Hoch. “When you look at our season, we didn’t play our best to start out, then we played some games where we gained some confidence from, and we’ve gradually gotten better.”
“The key now with these young kids is are they satisfied, or are we going to get better?” Hoch questioned. “Are we going to challenge ourselves this week to get better, or are we happy with where we are?”
The Arrows should be happy with how they played last Friday night, accounting for 367 yards of total offense to Platteville’s 182. Lancaster also had 20 first downs to the Hillmen’s nine, and did not commit a single turnover to their opponent’s three.
Before Platteville had gotten on the scoreboard with 1:16 left to play in the first half, Lancaster had already accumulated a 21-0 lead and seemed to take control of the game early.
“I think our defensive front, those guys really controlled the game and put pressure on their quarterback,” said coach Hoch. “They might not have had a lot of sacks, but they did not allow him to get comfortable back there.”
“That kind of set the tone for our defense,” Hoch added. “They did complete some passes, but we didn’t get beat deep.”
Known for their potent passing attack, the Hillmen completed 16-of-29 passing attempts against the Arrows for 164 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Platteville quarterback Tyler McClain was constantly under pressure by Lancaster’s defensive front, who collected four sacks and had 10 tackles for loss.
Platteville’s ground game was nearly non-existent, as they finished with 18 yards on 22 attempts, McClain being thrown for negative 26 yards on six attempts.
Senior A.J. Barner led the Hillmen with 42 yards rushing on 13 carries for an average of 3.2 yards per attempt.
Leading Lancaster’s defense with 8.5 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks was senior linebacker Troy Klein, who leads the team this season with 29 total tackles, 8.5 of which were for a loss.
Sophomore safety Hayden Wagner was in on six stops Friday night, while senior Damian Kauffman (LB) had 5.5, one for a loss, and one sack.
Junior Ryan Gallinger (DE) also had a sack, while junior Logan Schneider (DL) had half a sack.
Offensively, Lancaster rushed for 270 yards and four scores on 48 attempts for an average of 5.6 yards per attempt.
Junior fullback Corey Hahn led all rushers with 128 yards and two TDs on 21 carries, and in five games has a team-high 532 yards and seven TDs on 75 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Hayden Knapp rushed 18 times for 100 yards, and is the team’s second-leading rusher with 431 yards on 58 carries.
Also getting into the end zone were senior Cole Kreul and junior Dawson Bowen, Kreul from two yards out in the fourth quarter, and Bowen from one yard out in the first.
The Arrows were very efficient through the air as well, as Knapp completed 6-of-8 passing attempts for 97 yards and one TD, a 29-yard strike to Kreul in the second quarter.
Lancaster’s offense seemingly had Platteville defenders confused most of the night, lining up in different formations and utilizing numerous weapons.
“I think we created some formations that caused them to question how they were going to cover us defensively,” coach Hoch said.
The Flying Arrows hope to keep things moving in the right direction this Friday night when they host River Valley (0-1, 3-2), who is coming off a 33-6 loss to Prairie du Chien.
Lancaster 35, Platteville 12
(from Friday, Sept. 14)
Platteville 0 6 0 6 - 12
Lancaster 7 14 7 7 - 35
L - Dawson Bowen, 1-yard run (Tanner Oyen kick)
L - Cole Kreul, 29-yard pass from Hayden Knapp, Oyen kick)
L - Corey Hahn, 8-yard run (Oyen kick)
P - Austin Wein, 33-yard pass from Tyler McClain (kick failed)
L - Hahn, 6-yard run (Oyen kick)
P - A.J. Barner, 3-yard pass from McClain (run failed)
L - Kreul, 2-yard run (Oyen kick)
First downs - P 9, L 20. Rushing - P 22-18, L 48-270. Passing yards - P 164, L 97. Passes - P 16-29-3, L 6-10-0. Fumbles-lost - P 0-0, L 0-0. Penalties-yards - P 2-5, L 7-50.
Rushing leaders: P: A.J. Barner 13-42, Carter Chitwood 2-2, Tyler McClain 6-(-26). L: Corey Hahn 21-128, Hayden Knapp 18-100, Dawson Bowen 6-28, Cole Kreul 2-9, Mason Crooks 1-5. Passing leaders: P: Tyler McClain 16-29-3, 164, L: Hayden Knapp 6-8-0, 97. Receiving leaders: P: Austin Wein 7-109, Jake Niehaus 4-29, John Groomey 3-24, A.J. Barner 2-2.